Mo'ne Davis spot won't affect eligibility

ByDarren Rovell ESPN logo
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Appearing in a commercial that aired during Game 1 of the World Series will not compromise the amateur status of Little League pitcher Mo'ne Davis should she choose to play college sports.

Davis appeared in a 60-second commercial for Chevrolet that recapped her amazing summer. The 13-year-old from Philadelphia became the first girl in Little League history to pitch a shutout.

The spot, which was directed by Spike Lee, ended with the words "Chevrolet celebrates Mo'ne Davis and those who remind us that anything is possible."

"Mo'ne Davis may be paid for appearing in the Chevy commercial without impacting her NCAA eligibility," NCAA spokeswoman Emily James said in a statement.

In January, the NCAA Division I membership provided more flexibility on eligibility standards.

"The NCAA staff's decision was made within this process and based on a combination of considerations," James said in the statement. "This waiver narrowly extends the rules -- which allow Davis to accept the payment and still be eligible in any other sport -- to include baseball. The NCAA staff also considered the historically limited opportunities for women to participate in professional baseball. In addition, Davis is much younger than when the vast majority of the prospect rules apply. While this situation is unusual, the flexible approach utilized in this decision is not."

Davis has expressed her desire to play college sports, but not baseball or softball.

"I want to go to the University of Connecticut and be the point guard on the basketball team," Davis told ESPN in August, while her team was still alive in the Little League World Series. "That's like my dream and then go into the WNBA. That's for [UConn women's coach] Geno [Auriemma]. Geno has to know."

While Davis can take money from Chevrolet, the NCAA ruled that Auriemma was not allowed to call her, which he had done.

UConn's compliance department had given the OK for Auriemma to wish Davis luck over the phone since they said it had nothing to do with recruiting her. However, the NCAA later ruled it was a secondary violation and the coach should not have made the call.

While the penalty hasn't been determined, Auriemma wasn't pleased, saying he had no idea whether she was "a superstar or could even reach the basket."

Lee said on Mike Francesa's WFAN radio show Tuesday that all of Davis' advertising money "goes into a trust fund" and that she had to take advantage now of her moment of marketing interest before she begins her NCAA eligibility process in ninth grade.